February’s Theme: a community of identity
Happy February everyone!
In this update, you can read about:
- Families Tuugether, Saturday February 11
- Senior Youth trip planning for GA in New Orleans- Sunday, Feb 12th
- Monthly Theme talk update
- One Action NH/Maine
- RE Orientation dinner- March 9th 6:30-8pm
- Social group for 5th-6th graders and 7th-8th graders- First Fridays
- Children’s chapel First Sundays
- Family resources for February’s theme: A people of Prophecy
- February Workshop info
- Ideas to connect at home
Families Tuugether- February 11th at 4:30 to 8pm– *If you RSVP- check email on Saturday in case of snow cancellations! Open to children 8 months through Sixth grade, Families Tuugether is a popular program for families of young kids; an opportunity for parents to reconnect and to recharge. Offered monthly during the church year, children are dropped off at South Church at 4:30pm with a potluck dish to share (Ready to serve, please.), and parents head up to the sanctuary for a short group gathering before heading out to enjoy some quite time. Children will strengthen friendships, enjoy a movie, and play fun games. Parents return to get their child no later than 8pm. Please note: Families MUST RSVP(email@example.com) if they plan to come to this event, so that we are able to meet the staffing needs. Program is be closed after 25 children register, to ensure we have a safe and fun event.
Senior Youth New Orleans Potluck- This Sunday, Feb 12th, after youth group- 5:45-7pm. Please join us if you’d like information about the June trip to General Assembly in New Orleans- this year’s theme is Justice! Commitments for those youth who want to attend will be due at the end of this month!
Monthly Theme talk- March 5th- “A community of Risk” at 10:15 am– in the continued year of trying things out, we are again adjusting the format of this event. Starting in March we will be talking about the current month’s theme (rather than anticipating the next month. SO, we are skipping February’s talk (as we already did it in January 😉 Theme talks are a monthly offering intended to provide a much needed opportunity for parents, RE teachers, and other adults (and youth) in our congregation to dig a bit more deeply into the upcoming monthly worship theme in a small group discussion. These talks will hopefully help us to better find connections between church and our lives throughout the week. For parents and RE volunteers, it may also provide some ideas for how to talk with our children about Unitarian Universalism and the exploration of ideas in the context of a spiritual community. Whomever you are, I hope you will come join us and see what it’s all about! This Sunday we’ll be talking about February’s theme: what it means to be “A community of Identity” If you’d like to attend, we will have a supervised room for kids to hang for this 40 minute gathering.
- An overview of our Religious Education program, how it serves our children and youth, and why it is essential work
- Discussion and orientation of how RE works in tandem with our home and community at large, and how you can best help to make that happen
- Overview of volunteer opportunities in our program, how to get involved, and tips for making it a positive experience for you and for the participants!
Social Groups- called Sparks (for 5th-6th grade) and Purple Flames (for 7th-8th grades) meet on the first Friday of most months during the church year- on Friday March 3rd we will be playing laser tag with both groups at Hill Top fun center from 7-9pm. We still need chaperones! IF you are interested in signing up for this program, please email the Director of Religious Education: firstname.lastname@example.org to get registration information!
Children’s Chapel On the first Sunday of each month RE children from first grade through 7th grade gather together for Children’s Chapel. This is our first opportunity of the month to explore the worship theme, and to practice worship in a kid friendly setting. This month we’ll be diving into the topic of ‘Identity’. Parents: we participate in a shared plate donation during this gathering, so it’s great if you can, send along .50cents or a dollar for your child to contribute.
Family resources for February: ‘We are a community of identity’– one of the wonderful things about theme based church is that there are multiple opportunities for parents and children to explore a specific idea throughout each month. There are lots of opportunities for ideas and inspirations we come across on Sundays at South Church to find their way into our lives throughout the week, and for our weeks to give us inspiration we can return to our community on Sundays!
This month, as we explore the idea of identity, think about ways you might take those conversations home to your dinner tables, night time rituals, car drives, and morning routines.
Identity- “Who am I? My answer: I am everyone whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I’ve gone which would not have happened if I had not come. Nor am I particularly exceptional in this matter; each ‘I’, every one of the now-sixhundred-million-plus of us, contains a similar multitude. I repeat for the last time: to understand me, you’ll have to swallow the world. ~Salman Rushdie.”
Sometimes, religion attempts to offer you an identity; but it’s interesting to think about how our religion celebrates our identity as well. At our best, we UUs seek both to offer identity and to honor our individual truths. Through theme based church, each month, we lift up a unique value or human quality that our faith calls us to live and lean into. Together, our themes help us think about who UUs are, and who we, as individuals are within and beyond our congregation.
Our children are living in a particularly dynamic part of their lifelong process of identity formation. We have the distinct privilege to get to witness them unfold in amazing ways.
In RE this month we will be exploring identity in workshops during the 9am and 11am worship for children in Kindergarten through 7th grade. This month’s workshops will include a game workshop to explore diversity and cultural awareness; A collage workshop where young artists can create a self ‘portrait’ (please bring me magazine donations!); and another story workshop where we’ll create a script to perform for the story for all ages on March 5th. We do have space for one more idea toward the end of the month if you have a identity workshop in mind- reach out!
In our families, here are some ideas to explore this months theme. These are just a few suggestions, but a great way to start thinking about how to bring South Church into our lives in new ways:
A few ideas for dinner talks:
Our identity changes over time. As a child you may think of yourself as a learner, a sibling, a beginner at many things. And then as an adult you may think of yourself as a parent, a teacher. How do you think your identity will be different in 10 years? How do you think your identity will be different in 20 years?
Sometimes our family sees us one way and our classmates, co-workers friends see us differently. How is your identity different in different groups? Maybe at home you help with the cooking and at school your kind of a clown.
We Are there times you don’t fit in with those around you? How do you continue to be your true self when you feel you are being pulled in different directions?
Family Activity: Interview a parent, grandparent or neighbor about their identity as a child or young adult. How did they see themselves? What were they proud of? Who did they hope to become? What was important to them? Did anything you learn surprise you? Do you see their identity in a new light now? (thanks to
Book ideas (age 4-9):
- People by Peter Spier
- The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler
- The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
- Who’s in My Family?: All About Our Families by Robie H. Harris
- Who’s Who in My Family? by Loreen Leedy
- Me and My Family Tree by Joan Sweeney
- Unitarian Universalism is a really long name
- Hard Truths by Rev. David Petee and discussion questions.
- Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester
Also– carrying over from last month, in the spirit of this moment, and black history month: Click this Link to a list of Social Justice books for kids
- Martin Luther King: I Have Been to the Mountaintop
- Ruby Bridges
- 5 Ways to Fight social injustice as a family– great ideas in this link!
As you explore, I hope that you will share your knowledge, ideas and enthusiasm with me and with our congregation! There is a bulletin board in the social hall where you can post reflections, our South Church facebook group is a great place to share, and I love receiving emails, too! Sending deep love to your families!
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Programs happening this year in RE (For parents and volunteers looking for the perfect volunteer role!):
Spirit Play: Our Pre-Kinder (4 year olds) and Kindergarten classroom uses Spirit Play, a montessori approach to religious education that invites children to explore life’s big questions through stories, “wonderings,” “work” (activities) and songs. Later in the fall and throughout the year 3 year olds are welcome to move up into the classroom as well. Interested in being a spirit play teacher? We’d love to have you join us!
Theme based Workshops: Students in 1st-7th grade* will be engaged in a workshop styled program beginning this fall. The monthly workshops will be created by congregants in connection with the month’s worship theme, so specific offerings will change throughout the year. Often, the groups will be open to a range of ages, and as we begin to experiment more details about the exact structure will become clear, so stay tuned! Volunteer as a workshop presenter (short term commitment – a single month), or sign on as a small group leader (1-2 times/month for the year) We’d love to have you join us!
OWL- Our Whole Lives- Comprehensive Sexuality Education– This year we are offering programs for 5th grade (an 8 week program) and 7th grade (a year long program). OWL is a nationally acclaimed program and it is an invaluable experience for our children/youth. You can read more about it here: uua.org/re/owl OWL instructors are needed on an ongoing basis (the program runs annually) and We will pay for your training! Please reach out if you are interested.
A community of…